by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President-elect Joe Biden is readying a stack of executive orders to sign after he’s sworn into office, and it has some Republicans experiencing déjà vu.
Like former President Barack Obama before him, Biden is poised to rely on unilateral action as he faces the prospect of a recalcitrant Senate. On top of a possible Republican-controlled Senate, Biden has to grapple with tensions within his own party as well. Far-left lawmakers, for instance, are set to push him on policy, despite a slimmer Democratic majority in the House.
Incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain has already listed some of Biden’s priorities. They include reintroducing protections for “Dreamers” brought to the country illegally as children and a slew of environmental regulations.
Biden would also ensure the United States rejoined the Paris agreement and the World Health Organization, Klain told MSNBC. He would roll back the travel restrictions President Trump placed on a handful of majority-Muslim countries. And fix “some of the flaws in the Affordable Care Act that the Trump administration has imposed,” Klain said.
Biden’s COVID-19 response plan and broader immigration reforms were on top of his to-do list too, according to Klain.
“He’s getting ready for that now during the transition. We’re going to deliver on that starting on Jan. 20,” he said.
Biden’s embrace of direct authority is a pivot from the Democratic primary. During the primary, the two-term vice president and 36-year Delaware senator, who prides himself on being a dealmaker, boohooed the measures, sometimes perceived as heavy-handed because they don’t require consensus. They can also be easily reversed by the succeeding Oval Office occupant.
He reiterated the sentiment last week when asked by reporters about COVID-19 economic relief negotiations in Wilmington, Delaware.